Investment banks want to boost stakes in China JVs

By Wu Yiyao and Li Xiang in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-10 08:55

Morgan Stanley and UBS Group AG have reportedly engaged in discussions about increasing their holdings in their China securities business, reflecting growing confidence in joint ventures in the Chinese mainland, according to a Bloomberg report.

A source familiar with the matter told China Daily that Morgan Stanley would raise its stake to 49 percent, the maximum allowed under current regulations. The source said the plan is still subject to regulatory approval.

Currently, Morgan Stanley holds 33.3 percent in its China joint venture Morgan Stanley Huaxin Securities Co.

UBS responded in an email to China Daily, saying that the bank has been holding talks since last year with several shareholders about buying their stakes in its mainland securities joint venture.

UBS holds 24.99 percent in its China joint venture UBS Securities China.

"The talks are still progressing," the response said, without commenting on the reports that the Zurich-based bank wants to increase its holding to 49 percent.

Axel Weber, chairman of the board of directors of UBS Group AG, said the bank has continuing plans to increase its onshore presence in China.

"We have around 670 people in our onshore business in China and will be doubling the headcount over the coming years," he said.

"Our JV has been working very well for us. We want to be part of China's success story as it opens its financial markets. It shows our commitment to our Chinese partners and the long-term engagement plan that UBS has in China."

China raised the cap for foreign firms ownership in their joint ventures from 33 percent to 49 percent in 2012.

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